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Using an Answer File to Install and Configure Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials

Updated: June 30, 2011

Applies To: Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials

This document provides step-by-step instructions for installing and configuring Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials using an answer file.

To install using an answer file

  1. Create an answer file for the unattended installation and then save it to the root of a USB flash drive. For information about creating the answer file, see Server setup answer file.

    ImportantImportant
    The server setup answer file must be named cfg.ini and must be saved on the root of a USB flash drive.

  2. Install the USB flash drive in your server, and then start your server from the DVD.

  3. The installation proceeds as in the manual installation procedure, except that it does not pause for you to type configuration information. Instead, it reads the configuration that you provided in the answer file. If there are errors in the answer file entries, you are prompted to fix them, and then restart the installation.

  4. On the Your server is ready to use page, click Close.

  5. Windows SBS 2011 Essentials should be remotely administered. You can perform administrative tasks using the Dashboard on a networked computer after you install the Windows SBS 2011 Essentials connector software. For information, see How do I connect computers to the server?.

Server setup answer file

The [WinPE] section is required to install the operating system in an unattended manner. After the operating system installs, a wizard walks you through initial server configuration. If you want to configure the server unattended, include the [InitialConfiguration] section in your answer file. When you finish creating your answer file, save it to a USB flash drive, and name it cfg.ini.

noteNote
The parameters in the strings are case-sensitive.

Sample File

[WinPE]
ConfigDisk=1
WindowsPartitionSize=70

[InitialConfiguration]
Language=en-US
Locale=en-US
Country=US
Keyboard=00000409
AcceptEula=true
CompanyName=Contoso, Ltd
ServerName=Contoso
DNSName=Contoso.local
NetBIOSName=Contoso
UserName=Jeff
PlainTextPassword=P@55word
StdUserName=Sally
StdUserPlainTextPassword=MyP@ssw0rd
Settings=All

noteNote
The default value is used for optional parameters that are not included in the answer file.

The available parameters are:

WinPE parameters

Parameter Name Parameter Description

Drivers

(Optional) The path to a folder that contain drivers for the server. You can only define one path. If you do not know the drive letter you can also specify _:\Drivers. (_ is the wildcard).

InstallDisk

(Optional) Specifies the hardware identification number of the disk where the Windows operating system image is installed. Disks are numbered 0, 1, 2, and so on, depending on how the disks are ordered in the hardware. For example, if you have an IDE hard disk and a SATA hard disk, the IDE hard disk is Disk 0, and the SATA is Disk 1. If you add another IDE hard disk, the IDE hard disks will be Disk 0 and Disk 1, and the SATA hard disk will be Disk 2. If no value is specified, the server system disk (typically Disk 0) is used.

WindowsPartitionId

(Optional) Specifies the partition on the hard disk that is identified by the InstallDisk parameter, where the Windows operating system image is installed. If not specified, partition 2 is used for MBR-based systems, and partition 3 is used for UEFI-based systems. This value is ignored if the ConfigDisk parameter is missing or equal to 1.

noteNote
If you are using UEFI and you have already configured the hard drive, WindowsPartitionId must be set to 3. For more information, see “Recommended UEFI-Based Disk-Partition Configurations” in the Windows OPK.

PID

Specifies the product identifier (PID) that is passed into Windows Setup for automatic activation of the product. The format includes dashes. For example, xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx.

ConfigDisk

(Optional) The value of this parameter can be 0 or 1.

  • If the parameter is missing or equal to 1, all partitions and data on the hard disk that are specified by the InstallDisk parameter are deleted, and then the required partitions are created.

  • If the parameter equals 0, no partitioning or formatting occurs, and the Windows operating system image is deployed based on the WindowsPartitionID parameter.

WindowsPartitionSize

(Optional) Specifies the size in GB of the system partition. The size must be in the range of 20480 MB to 102400 MB. A value of MAX can be specified. If not specified, a value of 61440 MB is used. If the specified value is MAX, the Windows partition uses the entire disk.

Initial configuration parameters

Parameter Name Parameter Description

AcceptEula

Indicates that the user accepts the Microsoft Software License Terms. The value can equal True or False, but the installation proceeds only if this is set to True.

AcceptOEMEula

(Optional) Indicates that you accept the OEM license agreement. The value can equal True or False, but the installation proceeds only if this is set to True if an OEM license agreement is included. This field is required only if the server was purchased from an OEM that provided a separate license agreement.

CompanyName

(Optional) Name of the company. Your company name is used to associate your server with your company and to customize your company reports. Can be up to 254 characters long.

Country

(Optional) String representing the desired country. Example: US for United States.

ServerName

The server name uniquely identifies the server on the network. Your server name must meet the following criteria:

  • Can be up to 15 characters long

  • Can contain letters, numbers and hyphens (-)

  • Must not start with a hyphen

  • Must not contain any spaces

  • Must not contain only numbers

Example: ContosoServer

DNSName

An internal domain groups the server and client computers together to share a common database of user names, passwords, and other common information. Users see this name when they log on to their computers, but it is used internal only, and it is not the same as an Internet domain name. The internal domain name must meet the same criteria that are specified for the ServerName.

Example: contoso.local

NetbiosName

Windows SBS 2011 Essentials only. A NetBIOS name is used to identify resources that are running on the server. It can be up to 15 characters long. Example: Contoso

Language

(Optional) Specifies the display language. It can only be one of the installed languages. Example: en-us for English as used in the United States.

Locale

(Optional) Specifies the time and currency format by using a LocaleID format. Example: en-us for currency and time displayed in English and formatted according to standards used in the United States.

Keyboard

(Optional) Numerical identifier for the desired keyboard. Example: 00000409 for US English

Settings

Sets the user selection for updates. Use one of the following values:

  • All equals “Use recommended settings”

  • Updates equals “Install important updates only”

  • None equals “Do not check for updates”

UserName

The name of the new administrator account that is created during setup. Your administrator and standard user account names must meet the following criteria:

  • Can be up to 19 characters long

  • Cannot contain / \ ” [ ] | < > + = ; , ? *

  • Must not start or end with a period

  • Must not contain two consecutive periods

  • Must not be the same as the server name or internal domain name

  • Must not be the same as a predefined user name such as “Administrator” or “Guest”

PlainTextPassword

This is the password for the new administrator account that is created during setup.

  • Must be at least eight characters long

  • Must contain at least three out of the four following categories:

    • Upper case characters

    • Lower case characters

    • Numbers

    • Symbols

StdUserName

The name of the new standard user account that is created during setup. See the UserName parameter for requirements.

StdUserPlainTextPassword

The password for the standard user account that is created during setup.

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